Driving ROI and Meaningful Use compliance at Advocate Health Care
Slalom and Advocate unveil a portfolio management approach that drives ROI and Meaningful Use compliance at Illinois’ largest integrated healthcare system.
April 14, 2015
In a joint presentation at the largest health IT gathering in the world, the 2015 Annual HIMSS Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, Advocate Health Care and Slalom shared how Advocate, one of the nation's top-five health systems, is achieving business and clinical value by implementing a technology portfolio management approach. Slalom and Advocate shared how this approach has helped Advocate reduce redundancies, optimize costs, and drive efficiencies on critical initiatives, including Meaningful Use (MU) adherence and M&A integration.
“Frequent M&A integration is the new normal in healthcare IT,” said Rance Clouser, vice president of field services at Advocate. “I know Advocate is not alone in asking the question, ‘how can we operate as one system, instead of a system of hospitals?’ One of the answers for our field services organization was implementing a portfolio management approach that would enable us to prioritize technology initiatives, provide managers with the information needed to align resources to the right projects, and be more responsive in meeting business and clinical needs—from merger integration to Meaningful Use (MU) adherence.”
Best practices for PMO inception and continuous improvement
Together with Rance Clouser, Sarah Korf, client service partner and healthcare lead at Slalom, highlighted best practices for portfolio management office (PMO) inception and continuous improvement during their presentation to other health IT leaders at HIMSS15.
In addition to recommendations on sponsorship, governance, standardization, and change management, they outlined specific tools and processes that health IT organizations can apply to align resources on the right initiatives at the right times, identify process improvement opportunities to achieve greater business and clinical outcomes, improve prioritization, and coordinate activities across technology organizations.
“It may feel daunting to create a PMO from scratch or to expand its scope when embarking on a merger or acquisition journey, but it doesn’t need to be,” Korf said. “First, start by focusing on the near-term strategic initiatives at hand. Second, encourage your staff to think critically about where the most impact can be made in the shortest period of time. Start small and iterate as you learn and grow. Communicate openly in a meaningful, purposeful way, and make sure to encourage constant awareness and stakeholder engagement, so opportunities to improve bubble up to the surface early and can be acted on by your team leads and sponsors."
Clouser and Korf noted that, by focusing on standardization, centralization, prioritization and governance across all hospital site IT initiatives, Advocate is uncovering cost savings opportunities in technology platforms, license consolidation, and process-related efficiencies. Standardized PMO practices also contributed to cost avoidance by ensuring resources were focused on the right initiatives; minimized wasted time on redundant efforts and third-party idle time; and maximized user adoption efforts.
All sites are now Meaningful Use-adherent, including Advocate’s most recent acquisitions on different Electronic Health Records (EHRs), and all sites have received their funding for MU1 and MU2 every year.
Greater control, oversight and satisfaction
“As part of this effort, we provided processes and tools to automate and update multiple legacy processes, allow for versioning and document control, as well as increase Meaningful Use compliance and adherence,” Korf explained. “We standardized and centralized disparate processes, tools and systems which led to greater control and oversight. This standardization allowed Advocate sites to easily share information and best practices, helping to prevent errors and increase efficiency.”
“I’m especially gratified to see the positive impact to our team,” added Clouser. “The success of the PMO model has increased our associate satisfaction in field services by helping resources understand how their contributions impact both field services and the overall organization’s success. We also increased our business and clinical partners’ satisfaction with our support, by providing clear and consistent leadership messaging surrounding priorities and impacts.”